EL VY's Matt Berninger and Brent Knopf on collaborating in the 21st century

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EL VY
Matt Berninger of the National and Brent Knopf of Menomena team up to form EL VY (Courtesy of the artist)
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Interview: Matt Berninger and Brent Knopf of EL VY
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  • Interview: Matt Berninger and Brent Knopf of EL VY 06:12
  • EL VY - Need a Friend (Live on The Current) 02:51
  • EL VY - Return to the Moon (Live on The Current) 03:41
  • EL VY - No Time to Crank the Sun (Live on The Current) 05:05

Matt Berninger of the National and Brent Knopf of Menomena and Ramona Falls have teamed up to form EL VY whose debut album Return to the Moon releases Oct. 30 via 4AD.

What does EL VY—"pronounced like 'hell pie' or a plural of Elvis," according to a press release—stand for, if anything at all? The name's not the point. In fact, it's just the opposite. "Neither of us wanted to start a new band, so we named this [band] something that wasn't a like band name in our minds — but even that is overthinking it," says Berninger.

When Berninger and Knopf first met at a small bar the National played in Portland more than 12 years ago, the two clicked. "So I said, 'Hey! If you've got any extra [ideas] that don't make it to Menomena or Ramona Falls send 'em to me and maybe we'll make something," says Berninger.

Knopf followed through. Berninger inherited 450 song ideas and put them in folder on his computer titled "The Moon," but the two didn't dig into it until after the National wrapped up tour in support of 2013's Trouble Will Find Me. The result: an album that practically named itself.

EL VY perform in First Avenue's mainroom on Nov. 21 in support of Return to the Moon.

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